The challenge of writing something like the Qur’an

There are documents that show that the prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings of God be upon him] made it a challenge for the Arabs to produce such a literary work with the Koran, but they were unable to do so, despite his well-known eloquence and literary skill.

The Qur’an is not only unique in the way it presents its subject, but it is also unique because it is a miracle. By the term “miracle”, we mean the realization of a supernatural or extraordinary event that cannot be duplicated by human beings.

The Three Stages of the Challenge

1-The Whole Qur’an: In the Qur’an, God ordered the Prophet ﷺ to challenge all creation to create a book of the stature of the Qur’an:

Say: “If humans and jinns got together, to bring something like this Qur’an to come, they wouldn’t make anything like it come even if some of them were helpers of the others.” [Holy Quran 17:88]

2- Ten chapters: then God made the challenge ostensibly easier by asking those who denied his divine origin to imitate up to ten chapters of the Quran:

“Or say,” Did he forge it? ” Say: “Then bring ten forged sardines, just like his, and to do so, summon whoever you can, instead of Allah, if you are true.” [Holy Quran 11:13]

3-One chapter: this last challenge was to produce up to a single chapter to combine what is in the Quran, whose shortest chapter, al-Kawthar, consists of only three verses:

“And if you are in doubt as to what we brought down upon Our servant, bring forth a sura like his, and summon your witnesses, instead of Allah, if you are true.” [Holy Quran 2:23]

None of the attempts were successful

These challenges were not just empty words to anyone concerned with proving that they were wrong. Prophet Muhammad’s call to monotheism, the abolition of idolatry in all its forms and the equality of slaves and their masters threatened the entire socioeconomic framework of Meccan society in general and the position of the ruling Quraishee tribe, of which the Prophet ﷺ It came in private. Mecca, the commercial center of Arabia, as well as its spiritual center, desperately wanted to prevent the spread of Islam.

However, all that the Prophet’s opponents ﷺ had to do to crush the movement was to form a single chapter like any of the ones the Prophet ﷺ and his followers were reciting to people. A number of Quraishee speakers and poets tried to imitate the Qur’an, but they failed. They then resorted to offering him large amounts of wealth, the position of king over them and the most noble and beautiful of their women in exchange for their promise to stop inviting people to Islam. He responded to them by reciting the first thirteen lines of the Fussilat Chapter, until they asked him to stop. The Quraish also resorted to torturing their slaves and relatives who had embraced Islam in a vain attempt to make them revert to paganism. Later, they organized an economic boycott against the Prophet ﷺ, his followers and the members of his clan, Banoo Haashim, in an attempt to leave them to submission. But even this plan eventually failed. Finally, they planned to kill him at his home, sending armed youths from each of the Quraish clans so that the guilt of his murder is shared by all the clans, becoming vindictive by the Prophet’s clan ﷺ.

However, God allowed the Prophet ﷺ and his followers to flee Mecca and join a new band of converts who were emerging among the tribes of a northern city called Yathrib. Islam spread rapidly through the Yathrib clans and, within a year, Muslims became the majority of the city. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was then the ruler, and the name of the city was changed to Madinatun-Nabee (The City of the Prophet ﷺ), which was then shortened to “Medina”. Over the next eight years, the Meccan clans and their neighbors The lands have mounted a series of unsuccessful battle campaigns against the emerging Muslim state in Medina, which ended with the Muslim invasion of Mecca itself.

All this bloodshed could have been prevented if only the Quraish and their allies could produce only three lines of poetry or fluent prose similar to the shortest chapter in the Qur’an. Therefore, there is no doubt about the inimitability of the Qur’anic literary style, the miracle of its rhyme and the wonder of its rhythm.

It has been suggested that the Qur’an’s inimitability is not necessarily unique, as great English poets like Shakespeare, Chaucer or great poets in any language tend to have distinctly unique styles that set them apart from their contemporaries.

However, if, for example, some leading poet today were to do an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s writings and write a Shakespeare-style sonnet with old ink and old paper, and then claim that he had discovered a lost Shakespeare poem, O The literary world would probably accept this claim, even after careful study. Thus, even the greatest poet could be imitated, no matter how unique his style, just as the famous painters were imitated. [In fact, some English scholars consider much of what was attributed to Shakespeare to have been written by his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe].

The Qur’an, however, is well above that level, as attempts to forge chapters have been made throughout the ages, but none of them has withstood close scrutiny. And, as mentioned earlier, the incentive to imitate the Qur’an was more intense during the time of its revelation, when, literally, the skills were at their peak than at any other time, but there was no successful attempt.

 

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